CBS All Access Has Record-Breaking Weekend Fueled By ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2 Premiere

Star Trek: Discovery was launched to be the flagship of CBS All Access, giving CBS a foothold in the growing market of streaming services. Today the network highlighted how the second season premiere of Discovery helped set a new milestone for the service.

Discovery helps set a new record for All Access

Today CBS All Access announced that the second season premiere of Star Trek: Discovery and the AFC championship game drove a record-breaking weekend for the streaming service. According to CBS, All Access added more subscribers in a single weekend than ever before, eclipsing the previous record set during the 2017 series premiere of Star Trek: Discovery by 72%. In addition, the weekend also set a new record for unique viewers.

“The return of our biggest original series hit, Star Trek: Discovery, and this weekend’s AFC Championship Game have propelled CBS All Access to new record-breaking heights,” said Marc DeBevoise, President and Chief Operating Officer, CBS Interactive. “CBS All Access’ growing content offering, including both exclusive original series and the expansion of live-event programming, continues to pay off with consumers, and we look forward to bringing them even more must-watch series and live events.”

Media analyst shows strong demand for Discovery premiere

Streaming services are generally not included in standard TV ratings, and most, including CBS, don’t tend to release specific viewership figures. However, media analysis company Parrot Analytics tracks interest in TV shows using their own (rather opaque) proprietary metric of “demand impressions” tracking search, social media, and other factors. And by their measurements, Star Trek: Discovery ranked 5th last week for digital originals in the USA.

(Parrot Analytics)

How All Access stacks up versus other streaming services

To get some perspective on All Access in relation to the myriad of choices for streaming services, there’s a new report from TiVo, who publishes a quarterly Video Trends Report based on surveys done by a leading third-party survey service. The study for the fourth quarter of 2018 – released today – shows that CBS All Access is being used in 5.2% of the 69.3% of households that use a monthly streaming service. Of course, this ranks All Access well below giants like Netflix and Amazon, but not that far behind HBO Now and ahead of other niche services like Showtime (also owned by CBS) and Starz. 

(TiVo Q4 2018 Video Trends Report)


Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else. The second season debuted on All Access and Space on Thursday, January 17th, 2019, and on Netflix January 18, 2019.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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James Heaney

Once again, CBS declines to give any specific numbers. A 72% improvement on the relatively small subscription bump All Access nabbed from Season 1’s premiere is still not big numbers.

Curious Cadet

@James Heaney — what’s your point? None of them give any specific numbers. The studios who produce content for Netflix can’t even get numbers from them. You don’t know what the S1 premiere numbers were, and you don’t know what the S2 premiere numbers were. But 72% is a huge improvement, regardless of the numbers. And based on the charts above, DISC is holding its own very well against the competition.

Promey

Since they don’t release numbers, are you basing “relatively small subscription bump” on your wishes?

The bit of info that they are happy to release in earnings calls to shareholders is that CBSAA is meeting their subscription targets.

Think like this: they were happy in Season 1, and now they are 72% happier. That’s all we need to know, really. Number of eyeballs is relevant to them, but not to us.

PEB

Salvador gets it. If they were happy with season 1, this update lets you know how much happier they are with season 2. All Access itself being low on the totem pole comes down to the lack of overall high-demand content. One show doesn’t mean everyone is going to scramble to subscribe. It’s why I feel they need to share the show with Netflix in the US. For me, it comes down to the Trek brand. EXPAND your viewership but in the meantime, great work producing a great show that’s garnering a lot of great buzz.

ML31

Were they really all that happy with season 1 though?

justmyopinion

I think they avoided any serious mistakes and in the end caught their footing and took off on a good multi-storyline arc… Looking fwd to S2 and I did pay for a membership to show my support.

Afterburn

“I was really happy with the weather today.”

“But were you really?”

That’s just a silly response. They said they were pleased, what more do you want, a signed affidavit? If you don’t believe them, that’s on you.

ML31

That is either an ignorant response or one designed to incite emotion. Let’s do a more realistic portrayal of your analogy.

Person A says: I will be happy if it doesn’t rain tomorrow.
It then rains tomorrow.

The next day, someone completely unrelated to person A says, “Person A was happy with the weather yesterday.”

Then I ask, “Were they?”

SMDH

Hmm, let me see. How many Hollywood execs sign 5-year, 25-million deals with producers they are unhappy with…?

ML31

That doesn’t mean they were happy with S1, Salvador. It’s possible, of course. But given all the data such a conclusion appears unlikely.

A34

Must be a conspiracy then 🙄

Allenburch

Conspiracy is everywhere: if you want to believe in something, you’ll find reasons to. (Why did Hunter ask Vossler, “You ever watch Star Trek?”)

Thrusters on full.

Afterburn

I’m still skeptical that CBSAA will survive long term, but glad DSC is getting a good response and is leading the charge successfully for them. It’s been a good 25 years since a Trek TV series ranked alongside other hit series.’

Definitely well deserved.

Denny C

CBS AA is the only reason Discovery exists. CBS AA needs Star Trek much more than Star Trek needs CBS AA.

Afterburn

100% agreed. I have no doubt if CBSAA folded, another service (likely Netflix) would snatch it up very quick. But I am just not sure that, unless they make HUGE investments in new series’– not just Trek– that CBSAA can compete with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney+, and other more robust services for more than a few more years.

Netflix pumps BILLIONS into content, and is actually LOSING money with all its success and dominance. Is CBS willing to invest that kind of capital and absorb that kind of operating loss? The thing that amazes me is that CBSAA still doesn’t provide complete back catalogs in their highest available quality, and Trek is no exception. Netflix and Amazon have the HD versions of TOS and TNG, CBSAA is still streaming low-quality SD (and lower than other SD editions, it’s almost like they ripped them from a VHS).

Denny C

Part of that may have to do with licensing agreements since so much of their content is available elsewhere in HD on, ironically enough, Netflix and Hulu.

Afterburn

It must be, but it certainly can’t be an exclusive, as TNG HD is on multiple other services. Maybe they had in the contract about how they wouldn’t put it on their own service. But if that’s the case, what a silly thing to agree to. Usually, those are the things you RESERVE TO KEEP not PROMISE TO EXCLUDE!

Denny C

And if you do exclude you have to ride it out until the deal expires and that could take years.

Ian

Netflix isn’t losing money anymore. It’s model may seem dubious, but it made over $1 billion in net profit last year and hundreds of millions in 2016 and 2017, respectively. That it’s dominance is now paying off in profits is what incentivizes other streaming services to persevere (as well as deny it content when that can own distribution of it).

Thorny

What happens when Disney Streaming launches and *poof* go all the Disney, Star Wars and Marvel programming from Netflix (and ABC gone from Hulu)?

Ian

Disney is about to own a majority share in Hulu. Not likely they pull ABC or Fox-owned content.

Actually Hulu is co-owned by Disney/Fox/NBCUniversal(Comcast). When the Disney buy out of Fox goes through Hulu will be majority owned by Disney, so they plan to keep much of their content on it. In fact they plan to use the two services to separate out content, family friendly stuff goes on Disney+ (PG-13 type content or less), Hulu will have ABC like before, and it will get the more adult shows as well.

https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/disney-disney-streaming-service-launch-2019-1203023789/

Curious Cadet

@Matt Wright — Warner Bros. actually owns about 10% as well.

Correct. But 10% is nearly inconsequential already, and effectively will be when Hulu is majority owned by Disney. If you read most coverage of the Hulu situation, they barely mention WB’s interest. So I did’t bother either, for obvious reasons. Furthermore, many feel WB will sell that 10% once their own streaming service launches.

A34

I don’t watch Netflix for disney content.

Denny C

When Netflix crashes it’s going to crash in a big way. They’re blowing through a lot of cash, raising rates and losing Disney and WB titles in the coming years.

A34

Netflix was a success long before it pickup some Disney content. I couldn’t care less about it.

ML31

That is not what all the reports have shown. Are there new reports that say otherwise?

MattR

Not entirely. CBSAA was around for 3 years before Discovery, with about 1 million paying subscribers (and without any expenditures for original content). It was definitely a small number of subscribers, but it’s not nothing.

Afterburn

True. The difference is, the investment was minimal. It was more of an online platform to view a handful of older shows (and clearly a way of testing the technology for the leap they’re taking now). At present, it’s trying to compete with Netflix and Amazon. To do that they do indeed need Star Trek.

Land O'Calrissian

“CBS AA is the only reason Discovery exists.”

“CBS AA needs Star Trek much more than Star Trek needs CBS AA.”

Those are entirely contradictory sentences. If CBS AA were the only reason Discovery existed, then Trek would absolutely need CBS AA. You’re confused.

Denny C

They’re not at all contradictory. CBS AA needed a shot in the arm so they put a Star Trek series into production to boost subs. It worked. Does Discovery need CBS All Access? Not really, no. It could have been produced for SyFy, AMC, Netflix or any other network or streaming service and reached a far wider audience.

A34

CBS AA has been around long before Disco.

Denny C

It existed but growth was stagnant.

A34

Because it wasn’t showing anything new.

Ad Astra Per Aspera

I’d be interested in seeing what international engagement on Netflix is like. Clearly DSC has been a big success for CBSAA and I can only imagine that it’s much bigger internationally given its on THE streaming service.

FLB

This shows the wisdom of going with an established brand (Star Trek) as a lead vehicle for CBSAA.

Afterburn

They did the same with UPN, and it was an inferior series. Following Trek with Twilight Zone by Jordan Peele is also a good call.

Hfarmer

IDK.. even die hard Disc (Really Burnham) haters all seem to think that ENT was good. So do I. If anything ENT ended too soon.

Afterburn

I was referring to Voyager, which launched the UPN Network in 1995. I think ENT was a good show, but certainly not better than DSC. I enjoy it on Netflix (i’m probably going to start it over next week as I wind down a re-watch of DS9), but I think it ran its course, and probably got a year more than it deserved.

Denny C

UPN had their own Twilight Zone as well.

Afterburn

That’s right! But that wasn’t for another… 6 years if i recall.

Denny C

And it wasn’t very good.

A34

I remember watching it. It wasn’t very good.

Joe

Glad to see I am not the only one that liked Ent. I always thought it was better than Voy.

Afterburn

I think when it was at it’s best it was better than VOY, the problem was that the majority of it’s run was painfully mediocre or worse. Voyager, by contrast, was never great, but had a higher baseline. If nothing else it was consistent: you can tune in to a random episode of VOY and it’s almost guaranteed to be a solid hour of television.

Only a handful of stinkers, but again, rarely ever great.

ML31

I preferred Enterprise to Voyager. As a concept. I felt the cast of Voyager was much better than Enterprise. Especially the lead actors. Bakula was horribly miscast.

Afterburn

Agreed M31, I thought the concept behind Voyager had promise: lost in the Delta Quadrant, a mix of two opposing crews– but they bailed on what made those ideas interesting within the first handful of episodes.

Enterprise went with their premise of being space pioneers with new technology and explored it thoroughly.

NCC Lincoln 1785

I love Bakula. Great first captain of Starfleet

NCC Lincoln 1785

Hated the jumpsuits tho and officer suites

ML31

Bakula can better play the everyman. But he seems to have a hard time with the hero/leader role. Originally I thought he would be fine as Captain Archer. After viewing his work, I realized I was wrong. But you agreed with the show’s casting director and producers that he was the right man for the part. Nothing wrong with that.

DataMat

Voyager is fun. I’ve been watching a few episodes just recently and at least the Doctor and Seven episodes are very good watches. The writers (and producers..) had clearly given up on the Original concept and what it should have entailed and just made Voyager an episodic show. But it’s fun. And the cast is better than ENT in my opinion, which for me partly explains why viewers couldn’t stick with Enterprise on original run. On Voyager we have a charismatic and often hilarious Doctor who we see grow over the seven seasons, and the same with Seven over her four, and we see the best Vulcan seen on Star Trek since Spock.

A34

ENT was good until the final season. Too much episodes made for nostalgia purposes that made no sense. Those mirror episodes were an embarrassment.

ML31

They were better than the MU episodes on STD. Light years better.

Thorny

My experience is that the die-hard DSC (and Burnham) haters almost never mention any other Star Trek series except TOS and TNG. Its like DS9, VOY and ENT don’t exist as far as the haters are concerned.

ML31

My experience is quite different. But it’s all anecdotal I guess.

Ian

Star Trek’s owners always use the fans to break into a new market. The Paramount Network would have started on the back of Phase 2, UPN started on the back of Voyager. TNG delivered first run syndication money to Paramount and The Motion Picture gave them a movie franchise.

Denny C

CBS should have scheduled the Season 2 premiere or some other CBS AA offering after the Super Bowl to drive more eyes to All Access. A missed opportunity.

And ‘opaque’ is a generous description of Parrot’s metrics. It’s almost as much of a mystery as how Netflix arrived at 45 million subscribers watching Bird Box (does autoplay count as a view?).

Michael Hall

Can we at least put to rest the multiple claims that, whatever else you may think about the show, DSC has not been at least a solid success for CBS?

FLB

Hear hear!

odradek

(Von mir aus. Nicht dass ich mit den doppelten Verneinungen wirklich verstanden hätte was du da sagen willst, aber wird schon richtig sein)=>AGREED

Afterburn

Yes, indeed. But i’m sure those who insist it’s a failure will find some evidence for their claim, as trumped up as it may be. “It’s a loss leader,” “they’ll cancel it as soon as Picard releases and they have a replacement”, or some other such nonsense.

“Extremists often have a logic all their own.”

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Science-Fiction Oracle is that you?

Denny C

It isn’t a failure by any stretch but it is, in many ways, a loss leader since its sole intent is to draw viewers even if it is produced at a loss initially (as most shows typically are).

Afterburn

Fair enough I suppose.

Denny C

As George Takei once said many years back after Star Trek V disappointed at the box office: In the end, Star Trek never loses money.

slider

(in Mel Brooks voice) Merchandise!

This one is not at a loss. Most of the cost, if not all, is paid up by Netflix. CBS is NOT losing money on it.

Afterburn

True, but I think Denny’s point is that the service is losing money, and so by definition, Discovery is the loss leader. Then again, to your point, pretty much EVERY streaming service operates at a loss, so you could call Stranger Things a loss-leader too.

Denny C

Yup. CBS is more than happy to spend a ton of cash on Discovery if it succeeds at what it’s intended to do.

slider

Does this mean All-Access other shows are not doing well?

Gary 8.5

Always important to remember that so called chaos behind the scenes was supposed to keep Discovery from airing in the first place.

slider

No it hasn’t.

Afterburn

Ah there you are.

slider

Sci-Fi Oracle?

Denny C

It’s a success for All Access. I’ll always be curious to know how it would have fared on a basic cable network with a much wider reach. I suspect that it’s performance would have been on par with Voyager over it’s 7 year run on UPN.

Afterburn

Hard to say, but it likely would never have been allowed the budget it has if it were on network TV. Not just effects, but casting. Doubt they’d have paid the likes of Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, and Rainn Wilson. Or at least not all of them.

ML31

Those are really not high end expensive actors at all.

Afterburn

OK?

ML31

That’s a question?

Ian

I highly doubt there are many network shows with $8 million per episode budgets, at least not new ones where cast salaries have yet to get bumped by proven ratings successes.

ML31

The entire budget of STD is quite obviously not getting sucked into the casts pockets. None of them are anywhere close to A-listers who would command the larger sums. Sure, Mount is good but is he a “high demand” guy? No. Romijin may have been a bigger name some time ago. But she is coming off a cable series and is not worth nearly what she was back in the day. I’m sure they get paid well. But it’s not like the show is starring Chris Evans or George Cloony.

Denny C

They’re probably a bit more expensive than you might think. A series lead on a basic cable series could make $50k – $100k per episode as far back as 15 years ago. with supporting cast making anywhere from $10k – $30k per episode.

ML31

Denny, I am not pretending to know what their rates are. I’m just judging based on their name recognition and recent successes. Maybe they are getting paid higher than average. But I’m seriously doubting it. The only cast member I think could have asked for something a little more substantial could be Jones. But again, speculation.

Ian

I have a feeling Yeoh isn’t exactly cheap for TV. She’s an international movie star whom A-list directors do seek out.

ML31

Not so sure. Look at her resume lately. A tiny role in a Marvel film. A voice role. A supporting role in a Netflix show. A supporting role in a movie about Asians that did very well in the US. I think she still does some Asian films, however. But she certainly is not an A list star in the west these days. And I’m not knocking her. I think she is a good actress when she gets the right roles. And she doesn’t seem to be hurting for work either. But she certainly does not command a large salary here in North America.

Ian

As you say, we can’t be sure of that.

A34

They would has casted a bunch of unknowns for cheap.

Denny C

Broadcast series tend to have bigger budgets but Discovery is a special case.

Land O'Calrissian

Anyone who claims Discovery has been a failure is entirely out of touch with reality, and is thus not worth talking to.

slider

Yeah and I’m sure the RT critic scores are something like 96%, I will wait until the hype has died down thank you.

Trek in a Cafe

Not sure if you meant Russia Today, then I realized Rotten Tomatoes. Joking.

In this day, you never know.

slider

Ah Russia Today. So that’s where all those bots come from. Ahahahaha!

Redshirt

With such great success they should improve on the licensing for STD. Not much in way of figures or low cost props/toys.

Ian

It’s a bit irritating, and is clearly money being left on the table, though I will say it’s not exactly family friendly the way the other shows are. That limits its toy appeal.

slider

To be honest Discovery is more a collector’s market for die-hard fans when it comes to toys and action figures. I would even say that the best toy sales came from TOS and TNG.

Walter

There isn’t enough new programing! CBS All Access needs more content,you don’t even get full series on some shows. Feature Movie content is almost nothing but dozen random titles.They need Access to Paramount’s Library!

Tiger2

Agreed. They definitely need a lot more content. I have no interest to watch the shows they have now. What does it say when I’m more interested in watching reruns of their old shows instead of original content of their new ones. And the movie library is a joke. It’s CBS, they can’t get more movies to this site?

Denny C

And it can’t all be Star Trek. They need an original, breakout hit along the lines of The Walking Dead or Handmaid’s Tale.

Danpaine

Absolutely right. On point, Denny.

Ian

Wait a year…

A34

How much original content did Netflix have when it first started?

The answer: Zero

The Netflix streaming first started it was just a bunch of B movies.

Afterburn

When they added LOST is when i subscribed. When I finished it, I discovered lots of kids content for my young son. Then they added Trek a year later. Keep putting up binge-worthy tv shows, and i’ll keep subscribing, original or not.

$15/m is still a small price to pay when you remember how much we all used to spend renting movies, and how much a lot of people STILL spend going to the theater every week. Right now I have NF, CBSAA, Hulu, and Amazon, and i’m likely to swap Hulu for Disney+ next year (I got it recently on their holiday .99/m promo).

Even if i were paying the full $10/m for Hulu my home entertainment spend would be $45/m, and I wouldn’t even count Amazon because I have that for reasons other than streaming.

ML31

When Netflix started they were delivering discs in the mail. Then they started streaming that content. Then they made an original show that was well received… Then…

slider

Isn’t it ironic people are paying for a streaming service that isn’t doing what it says on the tin?

Harry Ballz

Here’s what they need to do……dump the Burnham storyline, or at least push her into the background. Then, have the show continue on the Enterprise with Pike as the star of the show. With it being 10 years before TOS, there is plenty of story to tell without violating canon. We get a 7 year run of Pike, Spock and crew dazzling us with the 21st century version of the original Star Trek!
Hell, you could even have it finish with Pike handing over command of the ship to a new fresh-faced James Kirk (hopefully a great young actor). Then, let that show run for a few more years to finally dovetail into how TOS begins.

The adventure continues, indeed!

Afterburn

Umm, wouldn’t it just be easier to spin off Pike into his own show on 1701?

Harry Ballz

No, if you’re going to spend this kind of money per episode, dump Burnham. She’s boring.

Danpaine

Agreed.

ML31

I still think the Michael Burnham character is boring. Even after watching “Brothers”.

slider

That’s a good idea.

Lokey

Cbs all access works on fewer Smart tvs that are in the general public than any other app. Compatible with only select tv sets i.e of Samsung made 2015 on.Execs at Cbs should be let go for losing millions in revenue potential for Star Trek Discovery. Samsung is the biggest manufactuerer of tvs in world. Making 8 million tvs per year.

Okay I’ll bite. I must say this is an odd rant. The CBS app *is* on Samsung TVs, so they are indeed on the largest manufacturer of TVs in the world.

It’s totally reasonable to only be on 2015 and newer TVs (which adds up to millions of TV sets). The older TVs are on Samsung’s legacy end-of-life smart TV system. Only 2015 and newer TVs run the Tizen OS, which is what is currently being supported and actively developed.

What’s actually an odd decision is that CBS still isn’t on LG (WebOS) smart TVs. LG is the second largest TV brand by sales worldwide.

Denny C

The LG thing is frustrating.

ML31

My Samsung is a 2015 one. And I was immensely frustrated the CBS app never appeared on it. I’m not buying a new TV just for Star Trek. I’m currently using Chromecast. I’m unhappy with it but I don’t want to keep throwing money at this stuff just for ONE show. I feel I already pay too much when I subscribe for $10 a month just for one show.

If Discovery holds on to the spirit of Trek as they did in the season 2 premiere and maybe builds on it, the show will most definitely grow its beard! It seems the vocal minority of Discovery heaters are indeed a minority. It’s funny how the same minority militantly prises The Orville as something godsend and “the true Trek”.

Don’t get me wrong I think The Orville is ok, it has it’s moments, but there is a clear pattern to it, every episode written by Seth Mcfarlane is week, episodes that are written by other writers are usually pretty good and don’t incorporate shoehorned in humor just for the sake of it. Humor should come naturally and character/situation driven unlike most of the humor on the Orville.

khambattafan

Not to take anything away from the tremendous achievements of Discovery, but the Patriots-Chiefs game was near record-setting, peaking with 64 million viewers. I have to think more than a few CBSAA subs were due to cord-cutters trying to watch the game.

And terms like success and failure are relative. Do you really think barely beating out Narcos in online interest is much of a success, considering the size of Star Trek fandom? Trek fandom is multi-generational, and it’s impossible to please everyone, but I still don’t think Discovery has been terribly successful in leveraging the existing fanbase (or bringing in large numbers of new fans, which would be a tall order, considering the meager offerings of CBSAA).

For example, look at the Hans Solo movie. It made 393 million worldwide, which would be a nice achievement if it were called Franz Solo. But it’s a relative failure because it is Star Wars. Am I saying Discovery is like the Hans Solo prequel? Maybe a little bit. (Yes, I know Star Trek is less popular than Star Wars.)

Still, I look forward to discovering The Mystery of the Red Angel and the shocking truth of Mike’s and Spock’s doomed romance. Or maybe she just stole his kal-toh set.

ML31

I think it is certainly reasonable the NFL MIGHT have helped with the Trek premier. But here is a question… Did one NEED to subscribe to CBSAA to stream that game?

Danpaine

No, it was not necessary to have CBSAA to watch that game.

ML31

That’s what I thought. If that is the case then I would think that game had little to no influence on subscriber totals for STD. The big thing, as was the case last year, is to keep an eye on the churn when this season ends. Will it be as huge as it was last year?

AJinMoscow

Discovery’s best chance for success in the US will be in reruns on cable stations like TBS and on home video. Otherwise, it simply won’t break out like it needs to. CBS AA just doesn’t have that oomph that Netflix does. Football won’t help.

Afterburn

Like it needs to? Seems to be doing just fine.

HubcapDave

Too many people caught in the old paradigm….

Duncan Macleod

It’s on home video. I’m curious about the sale numbers

Nobody has the oomph that Netflix does. And Netflix is still hemorrhaging cash.

lol TBS

This comment beamed to you from 1994.

All Access is getting beaten by DirecTV Now? Jesus.

Trekboi89

Parrot analytics have been criticized for not distinguishing between positive & negative attention towards their subjects, for example a show could be in the top 10 for media attention but 75% of that talk could be negative & they would still consider it popular.
Referring to a show with a lot of haters & detractors as “Most Popular” & “Most in Demand” due to volume alone without distinguishing is quite misleading.

Jonboc

To quote Cyrano Jones…”Twice nothing is still nothing.”